Morrowind is very demanding for how it looks and when it came out. In order to build their open world, Bethesda made some compromises on efficiency. It takes a Athlon 64 or high-end P4 to really push the frame rate up. GPU like a Radeon 9800 or GeForce 5900 is a good point.
The XBox version, which was one of the most buggy console games ever released AFAIK, with special leniency from MS's QA dept, is also not exactly a smooth experience from a performance standpoint. 😀
From the little I played of the XBox version, it was playable enough, but that's providing you don't mind a low/unstable frame-rate, i.e. you haven't been spoilt by playing it, or other games, on a decent PC. And yes, the XBox version was, as you say, one of the most bugged console games ever, not just with the many bugs it copied from the PC version, but even going so far as to have serious problems with it's own save games 😢 The more you did/explored/carried in the game, the larger your game saves become, and this could cause problems, so you were advised to never overwrite a game save directly, instead you should delete the save then create your new save, and where possible use tricks to lessen the size of the game save file, such as; always close a door behind you (so the game didn't have to keep track of open doors), don't pick up anything you don't want, and something about putting stuff you don't want somewhere then going elsewhere and waiting for three (in-game) days before you save.
It also doesn't look great:
But then the PC version wasn't a game you'd use to showcase your new graphics card either.
Lots of bugs were fixed in the XBox's game of the year edition, but lots apparently weren't, and probably some were added accidentally. I don't know if the save game problem was eased but I'm sure it wasn't completely fixed.
So yes, the PC version of Morrowind was much more desirable than the console game, since it had a much better frame-rate (your PC permitting), and especially because later on there were some (apparently really good and detailed) fan-made fixes to rid the PC version of it's many bugs. Plus the PC version supports countless great mods which extends the game's appeal massively to it's fans.
But the XBox game was well worth having for fans of the genre who either didn't have a capable PC, or who just preferred playing games on a console. And this was back in the day when the difference in cost between a games console and a PC capable of running games at average quality was much bigger than it is now, which was another reason why some people might settle for the XBox version.
And actually the XBox version could be modded, provided your XBox had been hacked to play non-official discs. It could play a fair amount of the mods that were made for the PC version, though since the XBox only has 64MB of RAM (which is shared between the system and the graphical hardware) the limiting factor was memory as much as it was the overall game-performance.
MiniMorrowindMod v2.2 is an all-in-one collection for the XBox, which adds lots of fixed and improvements to the game.
Edit: Badmojo, that looks beautiful!
Also, has anyone tried OpenMW, the open source fan-made Morrowind game engine from:
According to the FAQ:
How is OpenMW/OpenMW-CS different from the original Morrowind engine?
Native support for macOS, Linux, and Windows
Improved physics and AI
Distant terrain [and without bringing your frame-rate down to slideshow figures]
Save/Load dialogs organized by character
Quality of life UI improvements, such as being able to search for spells
World map adjusts automatically to fit new landmass from mods such as Tamriel Rebuilt
Support for up to 2147483646 loaded mods (up from 255 in the original Morrowind engine)
Since it was made from scratch, virtually no engine bugs from the original Morrowind
And much more (see https://wiki.openmw.org/index.php?title=Features for a more complete list).
Additionally, OpenMW can be used for running entirely new games created with OpenMW-CS.
Can OpenMW run Morrowind mods?
If the mod is compatible with the original Morrowind engine, then it is very likely that OpenMW will be able to run it. If you have trouble getting a mod to work, post a topic on our mod compatibility sub-forum and we can help.
Mods that require Morrowind Script Extender (MWSE), Morrowind Graphics Extender (MGE), Morrowind Code Patch (MCP), or similar functionality extenders are not compatible at this time. The current goal of OpenMW is to create a replacement for the original Morrowind engine, not third-party extensions that modders have created over the years. This may be a future goal, however.
Note that some features from MGE and MCP are already implemented in OpenMW natively.
Why is the version number less than 1.0? Is OpenMW incomplete?
Don’t let the version number being less than 1.0 fool you: OpenMW is more stable and less buggy than the original Morrowind game engine and only lacks a few minor features.
Reaching version 1.0 signals that it has reached feature parity with the original Morrowind game engine. After that, the project will change directions and de-hardcode Morrowind game mechanics, improve modder tools, and add many new features beyond the original game engine. See this document for the complete post-1.0 roadmap.